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article imageMix up results in wrong woman undergoing surgery

By Lynn Curwin     Jul 19, 2010 in Health
Winnipeg - A mistake resulted in one woman undergoing unnecessary surgery while a woman needing an operation has had to face a delay in her diagnosis and treatment.
The biopsy results for the women ended up being switched, and an investigation has now been launched to find out how that happened.
One woman had breast tissue removed, while the other experienced a 10-week delay before being correctly diagnosed. The second woman is now being offered treatment on an expedited basis.
“A Critical Incident investigation has been initiated to determine how the mix-up occurred as well as to identify what changes can be made to reduce the possibility of such an incident happening again,” the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) and Diagnostic Services Manitoba (DSM) said in a press release.
DSM’s quality assurance process requires initial biopsy results be compared with results from tissues which are removed.
The press release says, “In the case of Patient A, her initial biopsy tested positive for cancer while the biopsy of the tissue that was removed from the subsequent surgery tested negative.”
DNA testing was done, and it confirmed that the results originally given to Patient A belonged to another patient.
DSM and the WRHA say they are confident this is an isolated incident. They did not say when the mix-up took place.
The agencies said the women and their families have experienced emotional distress because of what took place, and they have apologized to the patients. They also said they would share the findings of the review, and recommendations stemming from it, with the patients.
The patients have asked that their privacy be respected and do not want their identity made public.
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